CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Recent domestic violence shootings highlights the urgent need for Michigan lawmakers to take action and pass legislation to prohibit convicted domestic abusers from owning or possessing a gun. Last night, according to police reports a woman was shot and killed by her husband in Clinton Township, in front of their two young sons, ages 6 and 8. This comes just one week after University of Michigan-Flint student Gina Bryant was abducted from Macomb Township and then shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. According to reporting, Bryant had shared with family her partner was abusing her in the months prior. Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of her abuser and 65 percent of women in Michigan killed by intimate partner homicide are killed with a gun.
“These horrific incidents remind us how dangerous it is for abusers to have access to firearms,” said Kazia Kelly, a volunteer with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivor. “Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of her abuser. Our elected representatives should act with urgency and pass this critical legislation to disarm abusers and save lives.”
On October 10th, the Michigan Senate passed a critical gun violence prevention bill aimed at disarming domestic abusers. Senate Bills 471/472 and House Bills 4945/4946 would prohibit people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanor offenses in Michigan from purchasing or possessing firearms. The House and Senate bills previously passed out of the House Criminal Justice committee and await a House floor vote.
Gun-related intimate partner violence is a devastating and lethal crisis facing women and families in the United States. Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. In Michigan, 65% of women killed by an intimate partner were killed by a gun. Just last month, a man was arrested for shooting at his wife in Newaygo County in what was not his first domestic violence offense.
Under federal law, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms. However, because Michigan does not have a state-level law, Michigan state and local law enforcement cannot enforce this prohibition. This means survivors and victims of domestic violence are left more vulnerable to abusers who continue to possess firearms.
In the first months of the 2023 Michigan legislative session lawmakers took widespread action on gun safety, passing three critical gun safety bills. This included passing an Extreme Risk law, which gives loved ones and law enforcement the ability to petition courts to temporarily remove access to firearms from individuals who are at risk of harming themselves and others. It is an essential tool to keeping our loved ones and communities safe but Michigan’s laws need to be strengthened to further protect victims and survivors of domestic violence by prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence offenses from purchasing or possessing firearms. Lawmakers should build on this progress and pass domestic violence legislation to save the lives of the most vulnerable Michiganders.
In an average year, 1,382 people die and 2,437 are wounded by guns in Michigan. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Michigan, and an average of 103 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 31% of these deaths are suicides and 64% are homicides. Gun violence in Michigan costs $1,683 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Michigan $16.8 billion each year, of which $380.5 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Michigan is available here.
More information on gun-related domestic violence is available here. Information about the intersection of intimate partner violence and guns is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, or survivor of gun violence please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or intimate partner violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. If you’re unable to speak safely via phone, you can chat online at thehotline.org.